calendar May 13, 2024
Universities for EU: Role of Academia and students in EU Accession
open discussion EU EU integration Universities for EU Academia
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On 13 May 2024, the Department of Political Science, and International Relations at EPOKA University, in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance and the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Albania, hosted an Open Discussion titled “Universities for EU: Role of Academia and students in EU Accession”. The focus of the activity was to present to students the involvement of academia in providing policy recommendations for Albania’s EU integration, as well as stumble upon the importance of participation of all society actors in such process, such as students themselves and civil society organizations (CSOs). Lastly, students were presented with a detailed explanation on how to write a policy brief. 


His Excellency, Mr. Reinout Vos, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Albania, received a warm welcome from Prof. Dr. Ahmet Öztaş the Rector of EPOKA University, and Dr. Niuton Mulleti, the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs.


The first session included opening remarks by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lisen Bashkurti, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences; and guest speakers His Excellency, Mr. Reinout Vos, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Albania, and Mr. Arjan Dyrmishi, Executive Director at the Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance. H. E. Mr. Vos complimented Albania’s path towards the EU and stated that despite difficulties, the country has done a few remarkable actions towards democratization. 


On the other hand, Mr. Dyrmishi explained how the Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance has done several project to help the state and its citizens for the preparation of dealing with the Clusters of accession negotiation efforts towards EU, claiming that CSOs and universities shall raise awareness of the EU integration process to the citizens.


The second session had guest speakers Mr. Jetnor Kasmi, researcher at the Institute of Political Studies; Ms. Ardita Matllija, Project Coordinator at the Albanian Helsinki Committee; and Dr. Jubjana Vila, Head of the Center of European Studies and lecturer at EPOKA University. Mr. Kasmi stumbled upon the importance of raising awareness and participation of citizens in all Albanian municipalities, as most of the EU acquis will be implemented in local level. Ms. Matllija explained how CSOs help in the increase of transparency and accountability of the state in this process. On the other hand, Dr. Vila emphasized how academia and universities, through teaching, research, and awareness rising provide evidence-based policy recommendations, constructive critical thinking, and informed citizens on EU integration.


The last session concluded with Mr. Dyrmishi demonstrating how to write policy briefs, as key tools to present research and recommendations, in an efficient and concise way. We deeply thank all guest speakers for their knowledge and expertise shared, and the students for their questions and lively discussions!
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